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Joshua J. Wind, P. Benjamin Kerr, Jennifer A. Sweet and Vivek R. Deshmukh

Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas are glial-based tumors that arise most frequently in young patients and usually follow a more benign and indolent clinical course than their other glial-based tumor counterparts. These tumors most frequently present with seizures, and only 3 previous case reports exist of hemorrhagic tumor as the clinical presentation. The authors present the first case of life-threatening intracerebral hemorrhage from pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma in a child.

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Christina Huang Wright, Dorian Kusyk, William S. Rosenberg and Jennifer A. Sweet

Lymphangiomatosis is a rare congenital disorder that results in multiorgan system lymphatic invasion. Symptoms due to axial skeletal involvement can range from chronic bone pain to severe deformity resulting in radiculopathy, myelopathy, and even paralysis. The authors present a case of lymphangiomatosis of the clivus, C-1, and C-2, resulting in chronic pain. The patient was successfully treated with percutaneous transoral clivoplasty and vertebroplasty, without disease progression or return of symptoms at 2 years.

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Asem Salma and Patrick T. Tracy

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Jennifer A. Sweet, Benjamin L. Walter, Kabilar Gunalan, Ashutosh Chaturvedi, Cameron C. McIntyre and Jonathan P. Miller

Object

Stimulation of white matter pathways near targeted structures may contribute to therapeutic effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Two tracts linking the basal ganglia and cerebellum have been described in primates: the subthalamopontocerebellar tract (SPCT) and the dentatothalamic tract (DTT). The authors used fiber tractography to evaluate white matter tracts that connect the cerebellum to the region of the basal ganglia in patients with PD who were candidates for DBS.

Methods

Fourteen patients with advanced PD underwent 3-T MRI, including 30-directional diffusion-weighted imaging sequences. Diffusion tensor tractography was performed using 2 regions of interest: ipsilateral subthalamic and red nuclei, and contralateral cerebellar hemisphere. Nine patients underwent subthalamic DBS, and the course of each tract was observed relative to the location of the most effective stimulation contact and the volume of tissue activated.

Results

In all patients 2 distinct tracts were identified that corresponded closely to the described anatomical features of the SPCT and DTT, respectively. The mean overall distance from the active contact to the DTT was 2.18 ± 0.35 mm, and the mean proportional distance relative to the volume of tissue activated was 1.35 ± 0.48. There was a nonsignificant trend toward better postoperative tremor control in patients with electrodes closer to the DTT.

Conclusions

The SPCT and the DTT may be related to the expression of symptoms in PD, and this may have implications for DBS targeting. The use of tractography to identify the DTT might assist with DBS targeting in the future.

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Joshua J. Wind, Kamran D. Bakhtian, Jennifer A. Sweet, Gautam U. Mehta, Jayesh P. Thawani, Ashok R. Asthagiri, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Brainstem hemangioblastomas are frequently encountered in patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. These tumors can cause significant morbidity, and their optimal management has not been defined. To better define the outcome and management of these tumors, the authors analyzed the long-term results in patients who underwent resection of brainstem hemangioblastomas.

Methods

Consecutive patients with VHL disease who underwent resection of brainstem hemangioblastomas with a follow-up of 12 months or more were included in this study. Serial functional assessments, radiographic examinations, and operative records were analyzed.

Results

Forty-four patients (17 male and 27 female) underwent 51 operations for resection of 71 brainstem hemangioblastomas. The most common presenting symptoms were headache, swallowing difficulties, singultus, gait difficulties, and sensory abnormalities. The mean follow-up was 5.9 ± 5.0 years (range 1.0–20.8 years). Immediately after 34 operations (66.7%), the patients remained at their preoperative functional status; they improved after 8 operations (15.7%) and worsened after 9 operations (17.6%) as measured by the McCormick scale. Eight (88.9%) of the 9 patients who were worse immediately after resection returned to their preoperative status within 6 months. Two patients experienced functional decline during long-term follow-up (beginning at 2.5 and 5 years postoperatively) caused by extensive VHL disease–associated CNS disease.

Conclusions

Generally, resection of symptomatic brainstem hemangioblastomas is a safe and effective management strategy in patients with VHL disease. Most patients maintain their preoperative functional status, although long-term decline in functional status may occur due to VHL disease–associated progression.

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Jun T. Park, Sunil V. Manjila, Rachel B. Tangen, Mark L. Cohen, Asim M. Shahid, Jennifer A. Sweet, Ingrid E. Tuxhorn and Jonathan P. Miller

Catastrophic epilepsy in infants, often due to extensive cortical dysplasia, has devastating consequences with respect to brain development. Conventional lobar, multilobar, or hemispheric resection in these infants is challenging, carrying an increased operative risk compared with that in older children. Removing a larger tissue volume versus removing or disconnecting the epileptogenic region does not always guarantee better seizure outcome. The authors describe 2 infants with catastrophic epilepsy who benefited from individually tailored disconnections based on a hypothesized epileptogenic zone following intensive presurgical evaluation.

Two infants with catastrophic epilepsy and epileptic spasms underwent leukotomies between 3 and 12 months of age. They were followed up postoperatively for 19–36 months. Both patients had 90%–100% seizure reduction and a significantly improved neurodevelopmental outcome without postoperative complication. Cortical malformation was seen in both patients. Modifications of established surgical disconnection techniques, tailored to each patient's specific epileptogenic zone, optimized seizure and neurodevelopmental outcomes while minimizing the risks associated with more extensive resections.

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Mihir Gupta, Allison Reichl, Luis Daniel Diaz-Aguilar, Pate J. Duddleston, Jamie S. Ullman, Karin M. Muraszko, Shelly D. Timmons, Isabelle M. Germano, Aviva Abosch, Jennifer A. Sweet, Susan C. Pannullo, Deborah L. Benzil and Sharona Ben-Haim

OBJECTIVE

Despite recently heightened advocacy efforts relating to pregnancy and family leave policies in multiple surgical specialties, no studies to date have described female neurosurgeons’ experiences with childbearing. The AANS/CNS Section of Women in Neurosurgery created the Women and Pregnancy Task Force to ascertain female neurosurgeons’ experiences with and attitudes toward pregnancy and the role of family leave policies.

METHODS

A voluntary online 28-question survey examined the pregnancy experiences of female neurosurgeons and perceived barriers to childbearing. The survey was developed and electronically distributed to all members of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons who self-identified as female in February 2016. Responses from female resident physicians, fellows, and current or retired practicing neurosurgeons were analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 126 women (20.3%) responded to the survey; 57 participants (49%) already had children, and 39 (33%) planned to do so. Participants overwhelmingly had or planned to have children during the early practice and senior residency years. The most frequent obstacles experienced or anticipated included insufficient time to care for newborns (47% of women with children, 92% of women planning to have children), discrimination by coworkers (31% and 77%, respectively), and inadequate time for completion of board requirements (18% and 51%, respectively). There was substantial variability in family leave policies, and a minority of participants (35%) endorsed the presence of any formal policy at their institution. Respondents described myriad unique challenges associated with pregnancy and family leave.

CONCLUSIONS

Pregnancy and family leave pose significant challenges to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in neurosurgery. It is thus imperative to promote clear family leave policies for trainees and practitioners, address discrimination surrounding these topics, and encourage forethought and flexibility to tackle obstacles inherent in pregnancy and the early stages of child rearing.